The women’s hockey team (6-18-5, 6-12-4 ECAC) tied Princeton (11-13-5, 9-10-3 ECAC) 2-2 in an away game Friday night. Following a come-from-behind tie, the Bears traveled to Connecticut where they defeated the No. 9 nationally ranked Quinnipiac University team (23-8-3, 15-7 ECAC) 1-0 in Brown’s final game of the season.
Both games’ results come as improvements from the teams’ last matchups in October when Brown lost to Princeton 2-3 and Quinnipiac 3-5.
The six victories brought the program its most overall wins since the 2016-17 season and its most ECAC wins since the 2008-9 season.
The win against Quinnipiac marks Brown’s second victory over a top 10 ranked opponent this season. The Bears defeated No. 4 Yale in January.
Brown 2, Princeton 2
Brown’s offense started the game strong with Shay Maloney ’22 scoring just 22 seconds into the opening period. Megan Forrest GS advanced a pass to Maloney, who attacked through the slot and slid the puck past Princeton’s goaltender, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead they would maintain into the second period. Leading the team with 10 assists this season, the assist on Maloney’s goal marked Forrest’s ninth point in the last 10 games.
Princeton tied the game 1-1 two minutes into the middle frame and took the 2-1 lead five minutes later.
The Bears trailed the Tigers into the third period when they rallied to tie the score 2-2 with five seconds remaining on the power play. Lizzy Gross ’22 made an assist to Anna Hurd ’24 who scored inside the left post from the slot eight minutes into the final period. Following this, regulation remained scoreless.
Maya Mangiafico ’24 shot the puck off the crossbar during overtime in an attempt so close officials reviewed it after the game. Ultimately, the shot was determined not to have been a goal. Brown’s goaltender Kaley Doyle ’24 made 21 saves in the game, including three in overtime to maintain the tie.
The final score marked the Bears’ third tie in their last four games.
Brown 1, Quinnipiac 0
Mangiafico’s late attempt at a game-winning goal the night before fueled her efforts the following afternoon against Quinnipiac. After a scoreless opening period in which Quinnipiac outshot Brown 11-5, Mangiafico scored on the power play early in the second frame. When Hurd’s shot attempt was stopped by Quinnipiac’s goaltender, Mangiafico knocked home the loose puck, scoring the winning goal.
Brown’s defense quelled a penalty late in the second period and denied any shots on goal in the final minute and a half of the game, despite Quinnipiac’s extra offensive attacker.
Doyle stopped all 36 shot attempts by Quinnipiac in the win, marking the sophomore’s second shutout of the season.
“It was our last game and we weren’t going to let up. We wanted to show them what we were made of and that’s what we did,” Doyle said.
Her performances in goal over the weekend and throughout the season have earned Doyle ECAC Rookie of the Week Honors and finalist for ECAC Rookie of the Year.
“As she gained confidence in her play, her game just took off,” Assistant Coach Justin Simpson said of Doyle. “She never looks fazed in the net. And having her back there provided the team with a lot of confidence because they knew, ‘I don’t have to be perfect defensively because Kaley will be back there.’”
Head Coach Melanie Ruzzi, who wrapped up her first season at the helm of the Bears, is a finalist for ECAC Coach of the Year.
The Bears have seen improvement throughout the season as their majority underclassmen team grew accustomed to playing collegiate hockey. Since returning from winter break, the team has earned a 3-2-3 record, compared to their 1-9-4 start to the season.
Having not faced Princeton and Quinnipiac since October, Simpson expected better results during the rematches. “We knew that we were … a different team because it had been so long,” Simpson said.
“The first half (of the season) was this learning experience for our program,” Simpson said. “We returned after Christmas break and the lightbulb went off for all of our young players and even our returning players who hadn’t played in over a year.”
Brown had been eliminated from playoff contention prior to its final two games, but remained competitive for a strong finish to the season.
“Some teams may not have been as diligent or as focused as our team was. Our coaching staff came in and said, ‘We’re gonna approach this the same as any other week,’” Simpson said.
Knowing they had earned more wins than the program had in recent years motivated the Bears to maintain their intensity through the final weekend.
“We brought those statistics to our players and we said, ‘Hey, this is a big weekend for Brown women’s hockey,’” Simpson said. “We used it as a great way to cap off our seniors’ senior year but also a great launching off point for our returning players for next year.”
“After beating Quinnipiac on the road … it felt like a playoff win. (It was) a super cool way to see a very impactful senior class move on from Brown women’s hockey,” Simpson said.
The team’s increased confidence was key to their successful final weekend of the season. “Going into Quinnipiac we were like, ‘We can freakin’ do this. They’re just like us, they’re another D1 program. I know they’re number 9 in the country, but we can beat anyone if we really believe it,’” Mangiafico said.
Competing on Quinnipiac’s home ice on their senior night added an additional challenge for the Bears, who entered as underdogs. Mangiafico welcomed this adversity.
“I love their fans and (that it was) their senior night and just having the opportunity to kind of ruin that,” Mangiafico said. “I have that competitive edge and it gave me some energy and helped us want to win.”
Mangiafico highlighted the efforts of her teammates, particularly those who played their last game in the win against Quinnipiac. “Kaley Doyle in net was absolutely unbelievable. Everyone gave everything they had, especially our seniors. Everyone was playing for our seniors,” Mangiafico said. “Being the one to put it in the back of the net was really a special experience and I will never forget it.”
Brown’s impressive cap to the program’s best season in years is matched by a bright future with 18 players returning for the Bears.
“It’s really just a testament to how much we believe in ourselves now, and that’s happened throughout the season,” Mangiafico said. “It was really just a matter of time.”